FRANCE: 35-hour week under threat

Issue 

On February 9, the French National Assembly passed a bill to significantly weaken the 35-hour work week won in 1998. The bill, passed four days after 300,000 people marched to defend the 35-hour work week, will now go to the Senate, where it is expected to be passed in a matter of weeks. The bill will leave the standard work-week at 35 hours, but allow management in the private sector to "negotiate" up to 13 hours of overtime a week. Currently, workers get time off in lieu for any hours worked over the 35. The new bill would allow workers to "sell" these days for wages or pension entitlements. Unions claim this will force unemployment up, given that it fell after the 1998 reform.

From Green Left Weekly, February 16, 2005.
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